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Overnight Energy: Sanders introduces bill to ban fracking | Trump officials propose rolling back law protecting migratory birds | Green groups threaten to sue EPA over airplane pollution

Overnight Energy: Sanders introduces bill to ban fracking | Trump officials propose rolling back law protecting migratory birds | Green groups threaten to sue EPA over airplane pollution
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NO FRACKING WAY: Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKlain says Harris would not overrule parliamentarian on minimum wage increase Romney-Cotton, a Cancun cabbie and the minimum wage debate On The Money: Senate panels postpone Tanden meetings in negative sign | Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (I-Vt.) this week introduced a bill that aims to ban hydraulic fracking. 

The bill was introduced on Tuesday and is titled "a bill to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, and for other purposes," according to the Library of Congress, though the text of the legislation was not available on the site. 

Sanders has called for a ban on fracking while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, as has rival candidate Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBecerra says he wants to 'build on' ObamaCare when pressed on Medicare for All Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill MORE (D-Mass.).

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Sanders tweeted about the bill, which he said was also worked on by Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyEx-Capitol Police chief did not get FBI report warning of violence on Jan. 6 Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line Democrats revive debate over calling impeachment witnesses MORE (D-Ore.) and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMore than 700 migrant children in Border Patrol custody: report Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoPuerto Rico governor: Congress 'morally obligated' to act on statehood vote Puerto Rico officials hopeful of progress on statehood ER doctor chosen to lead Hispanic Caucus MORE (D-Fla.) on Thursday. Merkley was listed as a co-sponsor. 

So how did word get out on the textless bill? The tweet included a video of actor Mark Ruffalo talking about a potential federal ban fracking. 

"Mark Ruffalo just spoiled Bernie and AOC's bill to ban fracking," the video said. 

Read about it here.

 

IT'S THURSDAY!  Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at rbeitsch@thehill.com. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.

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COMING SOON: A new regulation set to be unveiled by the Interior Department would end most federal protections for migratory birds, allowing companies that accidentally kill such animals to not face punishments.

The New York Times reported that a rule change set to be announced by the agency as soon as Thursday would codify a legal opinion issued by the Interior Department in 2017 that found that laws established to protect migratory birds should not be applied in situations where animal deaths are accidental.

When in effect, the rule change would allow companies that do not establish safeguards to prevent the deaths of migratory birds to avoid facing penalties, as only deliberate killings would now be considered actionable. The change would come as the agency has already largely stopped investigating such deaths under the Trump administration, according to the Times.

The proposed change was immediately criticized by environmental groups, who said that it would allow companies to get away with not taking action to prevent accidental deaths.

"They're trying to entrench this as much as they can, and get stuff locked into place," said Bob Dreher of the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife. "We're going to fight it."

Read more on the regulation here

 

POLLUTION, PLANE AND SIMPLE: Environmental groups on Thursday threatened to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over what they view as the agency's failure to act on aircraft emissions. 

"Ambitious, technology-forcing regulation to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas pollutants from aircraft are long overdue and urgently needed," said a notice of intent to sue from the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and Earthjustice. 

"Over three years after finding that aircraft greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare, EPA continues to neglect its duty to regulate global warming pollutants from aircraft emissions," it added. 

The groups intend to sue the agency in 180 days, according to the notice. 

Aircrafts account for 3 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 12 percent of all transportation greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA's website

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The EPA's Fall 2019 regulatory agenda says that the agency "anticipates adopting domestic [greenhouse gas] standards that would be at least as stringent" as standards adopted by the  International Civil Aviation Organization in 2017.  

The "EPA is working to address this issue in 2020," an agency spokesperson told The Hill in an email.

More on the threatened lawsuit here

 

EPA PUSHBACK: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing back against allegations from the House Oversight and Reform Committee that the agency slow-walked its ethics obligations.

In a letter to the agency earlier this month, the House committee argued EPA let political appointees take months to sign required ethics pledges and compile recusal lists, allowing leaders to work on issues where they had substantial conflicts of interest, the panel argued.

But the EPA disputed that Thursday in a letter to the committee, saying many of the employees targeted by the committee for not having ethics recusals were not required to do so under the executive order, given that they were not political appointees and were instead hired under another mechanism used to bring on temporary staff.

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"These allegations display a complete lack of understanding of ethics obligations and what is required under current rules or federal law," the EPA wrote in their letter.

MRead more about the letter here

 

SPECIAL GUEST: Obama-era EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan US officially rejoins Paris climate agreement  OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court nixes Trump move to open 10 million acres to mining | Treasury will reportedly add climate czar | Manchin pushes natural gas in letter to Biden  MORE will be attending President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE's State of the Union address next week as the guest of House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Cathy Kastor (D-Fla.). 

McCarthy, now the head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, has been highly critical of Trump's environmental policies.

"Evidence so far suggests that today's EPA is not focused on the agency's mission but is instead focused on specific results which will deliver on President Trump's campaign promises to dismantle the EPA," she said at a hearing last year

 

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OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

Florida Senate passes bill to block local bans on sunscreen, the Associated Press reports. 

Work begins to cap Central Texas oil well after deadly blowout, KWTX reports.

Pennsylvania governor floats plan to attack lead, asbestos in schools, the Associated Press reports.

 

ICYMI: Stories from Thursday...

Sanders introduces bill to ban fracking

Green groups threaten to sue EPA over airplane pollution

EPA pushes back on Oversight review of ethics program

Trump administration proposes rolling back law protecting migratory birds